Ss Brewtech’s Biggest Baddest Holiday Giveaway Ever!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > first AG batch was a disaster!!
Thread Tools
Old 02-19-2010, 06:06 AM   #1
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Jackson, Mississippi
Posts: 426
Default first AG batch was a disaster!!

basically, Murphy's Law was in full swing.

1) added 3.25g of 175F water to MLT, preheated for 5 min, added grain, and it settled at 140F!! added another quart at 175F and got 143. added another quart at 185F and got 148F (was looking for 150F). i said **** it and let it ride.

2) prepared water for first sparge and checked temp (looking for 180 figuring the MLT and grain would not absorb too much heat now). dropped the ******* digital thermometer in the ******* water. just brought it to a boil and let it cool about 15 minutes figuring it would be close. added to grain and it settled at 150F. added another quart of near boiling water and got 154F. again, i said **** it and let it ride.

3) sent my wife to my dad's to get a meat thermometer. she came back with a dial thermo that read from 50F to 550F (WTF??). it was pretty much worthless. used it anyway, prepared another 2.2g at what i believed to be 190F. grain settled at 152F. added another quart and got 155F.

4) at this point, i had damn nead 8 gallons of runnings for a 5gallon batch. once again, i said **** it. took my pre-boil gravity and got 1.037 when it was supposed to be 1.054.

5) brought my wort to a boil, added hops, and let it go for 1hr. only had .5lbs of DME, so i added all of it. added brewvint 1% boost and finished boil. flamed out and started the water to my CFC. opened ball valve on keggle.......and NOTHING. at this point, i'm seriously considering dumping it and trying another day. finally got the damn SS scrubby out of the pick up tube, but it still wouldn't drain worth a ****. after about 30min, i had about 5.15 gallons in the fermenter.

so, there are 2 things that amazed me. 1) 185F water + 10lb grain = 140F. 2) 7.75g boils down to 5.15g after only 60min of boiling and cooling through CFC.

plus, my hop strainer is apparently half worthless as my wort looked like a brown lava lamp with all the hops and hot break (best guess) floating around in it. so, i put the lid on and stuck air lock on and figure i'll let it sit overnight and let all the **** settle out, transfer off of said **** and pitch yeast.

lpdb185 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2010, 12:54 PM   #2
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: central vermont
Posts: 19

Hey that's the same thing that happened to me. I had a thermometer with a 4' wire probe, Don't get it wet. This I came to find out later. I ended up with an OG @ 1.035. Tastes good though. Get a good thermometer, like cheap and failsafe. On my next try I intentionally overshot temps, Tried to over pre-heat MLT and had much better luck. I have since had similar problems, and instead of spiking the mash with hot water (the more water you've got, the more boiling water you need to add to get temp up, Damn you Newton!), you can always do a decoction to boost temp. Otherwise you end up with a no sparge.

effinpansy is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2010, 12:55 PM   #3
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
flananuts's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Monmouth County, NJ
Posts: 506
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts


What was your OG into the fermentor? It's most likley cold break in the fermentor, it will all settle out and the yeast will use it. Just do a primary only skip the secondary. When your FG hits, put it outside or somewhere you can get the temp down as cold as you can for a week or until it clarifies. You'll end up with a pretty good looking beer I imagine, maybe just not at your target ABV%.

What type of MLT are you using? Remember that your SWMBO is your SWMBO!
flananuts is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2010, 01:08 PM   #4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 4,456
Liked 114 Times on 102 Posts
Likes Given: 32


As you get used to the heat loss in your system, you'll be able to get very close to your desired temps without adjustments. If you miss high, adding some ice is the easiest way to go. If you miss low, you can just scoop some of the mash out, bring it to a boil in a separate pan, and then add it back to the mash to raise your temperature. That's also known as doing a decoction.

If you miss your pre-boil gravity, you can also just boil the hell out of it until you get closer to where you are supposed to be, and then start your timer and hop additions.
ArcaneXor is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2010, 01:18 PM   #5
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Richmond VA
Posts: 228
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts
Likes Given: 3


What was your target OG? Boiling ~8 gal down to just over 5 starting at 1.037 gives me a OG of about 1.058 into the fermenter... just playing with numbers in Beer Smith. That doesn't seem too bad to me.
Damn Yankee Brewing

|Bar Build|
Gfei is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2010, 01:44 PM   #6
Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
passedpawn's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: ☼ Clearwater, FL ☼
Posts: 23,074
Liked 5512 Times on 3290 Posts
Likes Given: 4667


Some things I have learned along the way that might help:
  • Skip the preheat and just mash-in with hotter water. I used to preheat but now I have no idea why I did that. Use (learn) Beersmith, which allows you to put in the temp of your grains & mashtun and then recommends a water temp. It is pretty good once you've mastered it.
  • Measuring your grain temp is inaccurate until it rests in the mashtun for at least 5 minutes. The whole thing, including the walls of the mashtun, takes time to stabilize.
  • Your mash will convert at 140. No worries. Just leave in there an extra 30 minutes to be sure.
  • Hydros are extremely inaccurate at high temps. Let it cool to near room temp. Since they are calibrated for 60F, correct for this if your temp is higher or lower (see Beersmith). Also, while sparging, the boil pot can be seriously stratified. Strong wort (first runnings) can sit at the bottom below the later runnings. If you dip in that pot to measure gravity, stir first.
  • Cold break in your fermenter is no big deal. I wish it settled in my brew pot, but I only get a mediocre whirlpool. I use a suspended hop bag and an unobstructed dip tube. I have never had any sort of blockage.
  • If you are batch sparging, get a nice fine grind and never worry about that being a source of your efficiency problems. Stir well at mash-in to avoid dough balls.
- Andrew
passedpawn is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2010, 01:54 PM   #7
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: St. Clair Shores
Posts: 231
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 3


Your experience doesn't sound that far off from a normal beginner AG session.

It all works out in the end.
5th Street Brewery
7 days without a beer makes one weak.

C.R.A.F.T. Member

(Most replys from my cell sorry for mispellin)
Conodor is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2010, 01:57 PM   #8
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
petep1980's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 1,895
Liked 13 Times on 13 Posts
Likes Given: 1


Your first all grain sounds like my 5th all grain.

My last was a disaster at 52% efficiency. I used a cookie sheet as a "false side" since I had too much grain for my 5-gallon MT.

It also turned out the best beer I have ever had.
petep1980 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2010, 02:01 PM   #9
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Louisiana
Posts: 784
Liked 37 Times on 23 Posts
Likes Given: 4


Originally Posted by Conodor View Post
Your experience doesn't sound that far off from a normal beginner AG session.

It all works out in the end.
+1 I agree with that.
jgourd is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2010, 03:46 PM   #10
Vendor and Brewer
Vendor Ads 
Feedback Score: 4 reviews
Bobby_M's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whitehouse Station, NJ
Posts: 22,612
Liked 1393 Times on 914 Posts
Likes Given: 35


Certainly more than half of your problem was not having a good thermometer. Get your self something like this
Actually, get that one exactly because it's waterproof and recalibratable. Two things a brewer need.

The other half of your problem is not being accurate on how much of what temp water will equalize to what temp. SOFTWARE! When you add hot water to a cold cooler, just don't assume it didn't take much heat. After the preheat period, measure the water temp. Depending on the grain/water ratio and grain temp, your strike may need to be 165 or 170F outside of what the cooler wanted to steal. Software will fix you up.

You don't mention much about when you perform the MLT drains.. You only talk about infusions. Did you take first runnings before any sparge went in?

Welcome to I love you.
New 100% Stainless Steel Heating Elements are IN! ULWD 5500w Ripple, 2000w, 1500w, etc
Chugger Pumps, Pump Kits, Camlocks, Sightglasses, Clear USA made Silicone Tubing, RIMS, Electric Install Parts, etc.
Bobby_M is offline
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
First Batch DISASTER!!!!! bigin31 General Beer Discussion 4 10-26-2009 11:02 PM
First no-chill batch disaster CalmYourself General Techniques 9 10-15-2009 10:40 AM
Disaster? claphamsa Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 29 12-28-2007 12:45 PM
Disaster? Polock Joe Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 8 04-26-2007 06:47 AM

Forum Jump

Newest Threads